In 2018, it’s becoming more and more recognised that both boys and girls get just as much enjoyment and benefit out of playing with dolls as one another, and the perceived gender roles held by previous generations are slowly but surely being left behind. We’ve caught up with Play Like Mum, the team behind the world’s best dolls prams, to find out more.
The word ‘doll’ has long had a gendered association and plenty of people may well still be of the opinion that dolls are for girls, but many parents of boys will know that children themselves hold no such opinions, and many will naturally want to play with dolls and have a difficult time understanding an adult’s reasons to telling them that they aren’t allowed.
Encouraging your little ones to choose their own games and discover what it is that they’re interested in without outside opinions being imposed upon them is so important when it comes to their development, so it is great to see so many parents now encouraging this. We love this article from the Good Men Project that delves a little bit deeper into the reasons why it’s so important for boys to be allowed to express themselves in a way that comes naturally to them.
There are a great number of ways in which children benefit from playing with dolls, so we thought we’d touch upon a few of them to explain a little bit more why you may want to encourage your little boys to play with them too.
Little ones love to mimic the things they see in their everyday lives and recreate moments through roleplaying. Your children will be observing the way that Mum and Dad take care of them and eventually, they’ll probably want to emulate that through play.
Looking after a doll in the same way that you take care of them will teach them about caring for others, and help them to put themselves in another person’s shoes, which helps to teach empathy. Bathing and clothing a doll, feeding it, and maybe even playing school are all important scenarios for them to explore, and it certainly doesn’t make boys ‘soft’ to do so.
Boys are just as likely to become parents, carers and teachers as girls are, and this type of roleplaying prepares them for these roles and helps them to appreciate the adults in their lives who currently fill them.
One very important thing that goes hand in hand with the role-playing games that may be played with dolls is imaginative play, which is a hugely important part of your child’s development. Imaginative play helps to develop their social skills, language skills, critical thinking skills and their emotional development, amongst other things.
Little boys need to do this just as much as girls, and using their imaginations allows children to be creative and digest the things that they take in from the world around them on a daily basis. This article from the Huffington Post outlines some of the ways in which you can encourage imaginative play with your little ones.
Fine motor skills
On a physical level, playing with dolls will help develop fine motor skills. Grasping and moving objects are all important to your little one’s development and are essential for building skills for performing everyday tasks.
When it comes to dolls, practicing changing their outfits is definitely valuable. Little children find it tough to get clothes on and off, and once they are old enough, putting little outfits on their dolls can help them to practice these important skills. This makes it much easier when it comes to dressing themselves than it would have been if they hadn’t had this practice.
We hope that this has helped if you’ve ever found yourself trying to explain just how much your little boys get out of playing with dolls, or perhaps if it’s a concept that you may not have given much thought yourself before.